It’s ridiculous how long I’ve been working on this post… I started it weeks and weeks ago.. and then I completely forgot all about it lurking around in the drafts folder… until I suddenly went.. oh crap.. didn’t I..??? Yeah you guessed it, I suddenly remembered that I had not posted it after all. How the heck could I forget?
And here we are, almost done with February. And I still haven’t given you the update on how I did with my 2015 goals! 😳
How can I make it up to you? Well I guess I could just go ahead and give you that update!
Before I do, I have a teensy-weensy disclaimer!
2015 turned out quite differently than I had anticipated. As some of you know, I had to throw in the towel at work, June 2015 for health reasons. Following that particular decision, a few things happened during the fall, things that was completely outside of my control, which unfortunately, took a toll on my health.
I know, I know.. it’s a poor excuse… But excuse or not, it is an explanation for why I completely flunked on some of my goals, as you will see below.
I did have quite few goals, and even though I flunked a lot, I did accomplish one or two…
So here it is, my (ahem) “quick” update, starting with one of the ones I actually passed 🙂
My overall goal when it comes to my house mortgage, is to pay it down as quick as possible. Every January I pay a lump sum towards the mortgage (a quick explanation of my mortgage). My goal for 2015 was to to save up NOK 60 000,- for my lump sum in January 2016. And I did it. Actually I was a ahead of schedule and had saved my yearly down payment by October. With a little extra savings in November.
I did debate paying down more than my 60 000 this January, but I decided I’d rather invest that extra money in mutual funds, as the interest rate on my mortgage is really low.
With this last payment, I’m down to 1/4th left on my mortgage, only 9 years in 🙂 Do I get a woot, woot?
I had a bunch of declutter goals. Just as in 2014 I wanted to shed an item a day. In addition to that, I had a few other “projects” like reading myself out of my bookshelf, watching myself out of my movie collection, and (the big mother of projects) photos!
My declutter goals for 2015:
- 😀 365 items – 561 items out the door – the big purges are mentioned here, here and here…
- 100 Movies – 68 movies
- 😦 Cut physical DVD series collection by 30% – I’ve only gotten rid of one series which probably amounts to all of 1%
- 34 books – 27 (I ran into too many I wanted to keep)
- 😦 Photo collection – I never had a proper goal on this as I have thousands of photos, and the idea was to – keep key photos as physical photos, scan the other ones I’d like to have access to, and get rid of the rest. – All I can say…. it IS on the list for 2016 (and 2017… and 2018… and…)
ONLY BUYING NECESSITIES
2014 was a year I focused a lot on only buying necessities ( I want, I want – I want it now!!!), and it served me so well that I continued in 2015. I had some non necessities allowances though;
- 😀 Books – buy only 10 books/magazines – I bought 6 books (4 of them e-books), no magazines
- 😀 Flowers and plants – same level of 2014 – I cut about 60% on 2014 results
- 😦 Eating out – reduce 25% on 2014 results – we have already established that this item is something we struggle with. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that we flunked this one completely. Here are the statistic:
- we ate out 39% more times than 2014
- average cost per meal was reduced 9,5% – resulting in
- total cost for 2015 was increased with “only” 25,9%
Even though the results are pretty bismol (with the exception of average cost per meal) there is one upside in it all.
You see, both B (my eating out partner in crime) and me stopped working early/mid 2015. B took out an early retirement + was hit by company downsizing, leaving the workforce early spring. And I, well I started the year working only 20% until I left completely in June, when I went out on 100% sick leave.
We have found out in the past, during holidays and such, that we eat out more when we are not working. In lieu of the fact that most of the year have been non working days, for us both, I’m actually surprised that we did not increase our cost by more than 25,9%. So yeah, we gotta look at the bright side of this 😉
- ❓ I can buy up to 10 non essentials throughout the year – Hmm lets see, I bought:
- 2 lamps at an antique fair – the lamps are going over my dining table (been looking the last 5 years – finally found some I think might be cool.. as soon as I change the wiring 😉 )
- 1 pair of shoes (needed a pair that can work as my one pair only for minimalist travel)
- a few Lush products to test out deodorants and shampoos in solid form (travel)
- a couple of eagle creek super light travel pouches (travel)
- 6 pieces of clothing – 4 replacing worn out items, 1 item filling a hole in my wardrobe, and 1 just because I wanted it…
- 1 frame for a poster (picture finally on the wall after years and years in a roll)
- a set of omaggio vases
Depending on how you want to count these non essentials, it’s either a flunk or pass scenario. If you look at it from a “if every single item counts separately” then, yes I bought more that 10 items. But if “each purchase count as one” (eg lush, lamps, vases..) then I guess I kinda passed? You know what? I’m leaving it to you to decide 😉
ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE
The goal for 2015 was to build up to, by the end of the year: 7 days of activity a week, with 3 of these as real workouts.
Yeah, that didn’t happen (re my disclaimer) – I did pretty good during summer with an average of 6 times a week, but I took a crashing nosedive end of August, resulting in this goal going straight out the window for the rest of the year. So yeah.. a big, big fail 😦
As always, I enjoyed my garden as much as possible. In addition I had a few other projects.. mostly helping out family and friends with little things in the house.
I did however have a bit of a larger task, helping a friend who got a new house in 2015. Picture this, a house built in 2000 with interiour like the 1970s! Yeah, non painted pine, red, orange and yucky cream/brown/puke coloured wall… and thats for starters. For her it became quite a renovation project.. so B and me tried to help out as much as my health would allow. You know things like; painting, drawing up the new kitchen, delivering doors to be spray painted, changing door handles, cutting moldings to fit new wardrobes, more painting, installing the wifi, hanging curtain rods, “create” (rather adjust) a couple of ikea kitchen units to fit the space… you know.. all the little things that comes up during move in and renovation 😉 It turned out to be a fun and very social summer as she had lot and lots of friends helping.. oh yeah.. and there was lots and lots of great food, do I need to say more 😉
All in all, it was a great summer season!
This concludes my “How did I do on my 2015 goals”!
About time, you might say! All I can say is.. Yeah, I know 😳
After my February plastic trash challenge, I got inspired and started to look more closely at everything else I toss.
Now that I have some sort of control over my plastic trash, and gotten into a good routine of using the plastic recycle bag, I have found that most of my other trash is paper (advertising/junk mail) and food scraps.
Let’s talk about the junk mail. I tend to look through all the advertising from grocery stores, as I try to save a little when possible. I bulk up on some of my everyday products, when there is a good sale. All these adverts ends up in the paper recycle bin, so the paper is recycled, but I would have loved not contributing so much to paper waste.
I discussed this with a friend of mine that I do a bit of grocery shopping with, and we decided that, since I am the one who pays attention to when there are good deals to be had, he would be the one to put the “No junk” sticker on his mailbox. This way we can at least reduce one household of paper! And hopefully over time, I can figure out what advertising I “need” and see if I can find it online instead, to ultimate reduce two households!
But for now, the sticker is on his mailbox, there is one less household filled with paper junk and he think this is the best idea we (I’ve) have had since… ever!
I know it’s not much in the big picture of things, but a bit here, and a bit there… ads up eventually 😉
We are halfway into January, and you’re wondering, do I have any plans for 2015?
Yes, off course 🙂
I have plans within the areas of decluttering, finance, exercise and life in general! Why don’t you let me tell you all about it 😉
In 2014, the focus was mostly on decluttering, and I’m afraid I still have ways to go 😦 Seems like decluttering and getting less stuff, inspires me to want less and less. So I will continue this in 2015. Last years goal was to declutter one item a day (365 items) and I far succeeded that, so I thought maybe I should try that one, one more time.. I think it will be harder this year to find the 365 items, but I’m sure gonna try 😉
I don’t know if you remember! Just like I’m reading myself out of my bookshelf, I’ve decided to watch myself out of my movie collection, and I also have this big, actually huge, photo project which I mentioned for you guys in November, that I will be spending time on this year.
My declutter goals for 2015;
- 365 items
- 100 Movies – that’s half of my collection
- Cut my physical DVD series collection by 30% (yeah, that’s a lot, I have a lot, a lot of series)
- 34 books – I did 82 or something like that, out-the-door last year, but now I’m getting into more of the books I love…
- Photo collection – oh lord… I can’t even tell you what my goal is for this year! Half maybe?
My overall goal is to keep key photos as physical photos, scan the other ones I’d like to have access to, and get rid of the rest. Now having several thousand photos, this is a task that will take time, and most likely spill over into 2016…
Only buying necessities
My focus last year on only buying necessities ( I want, I want – I want it now!!!) served me very well, as I had to spend quite a bit on medical treatments instead. It served me so well, I think I’d like to continue the focus this year. But with a small change compared to last years – I will add an allowance;
- Books – I can still buy up to 10 books/magazines – preferable as e-books
- Eating out – We did pretty good last year – we will try to squeeze even more this year, by reducing another 25% on last years results.
- Flowers and plants – stay at the same level of last years result
- New allowance: I can buy up to 10 non essentials throughout the year 🙂
Other financial goals
Last year I managed to pay off my car (a few months early) and I’m pretty happy with that 🙂 My ultimate goal on the other hand, is to have my house mortgage paid off, in 16 years or less, compared to the 25 it was originally. I’m 7 years in and have almost halved the mortgage so far, which is phenomenal! But it’s getting harder now that I’m on a severely reduced pay due to not working so much. Every January I pay a lump sum towards the mortgage, so my goal for 2015 is to save up 60 000 NOK for my lump sum in January 2016. If I manage that on my reduced pay, I’m doing very well.
Activity and exercise
Due to illness I have not been the most active person the last few years, every time I think I’m ready to start exercising, I’ve managed to screw that up somehow, and I’ve gotten worse again. Now on the other hand, I’m feeling better than ever and I think it’s time to give it another shot. But this time around I’m going to be careful about it and take my time!!!
The goal for this year is to build up to, by the end of the year: 7 days of activity a week, with 3 of these as real workouts.
- By activity I mean something that gets me up and going and preferable out of the house, like a walk in the neighbour hood, work in the yard, run around playing with kids… just about anything that gets me out of that couch, gives me some fresh air, and brings me into a moving state 😉
- With real workout I mean an activity like for example going to the gym, yoga, biking, running, Rollerblade … you get the drift.
Other activities/projects this year
I have a few other things on my agenda 🙂 Like; travel, projects in my yard, other projects, throw a garden party, ++
But these, I think I’ll tell you more about, as we move into the year 😉
So that’s it for my 2015 goals… enough don’t you think?
In 2009, after having lived in the US for two years, I came home with enough stuff to fill up a entire house (after having furnished an empty condo in Houston), and I already had a house full. Since then I have slowly but surely gotten rid of stuff, and I’ve dwindled it down to one household again. But as good as I had been at it, I felt that there was still more that could go out of the house. Which is why I decided a year ago that I would make 2014 a year to declutter and living with less.
And to be accountable – I started this blog 🙂
I decided my main goal, would be to get rid of an average of at least one item a day, all through 2014 – yepp, 365 items!
I also made a second goal, a promise in my post I want. I want – I want it now!!! – to make an effort to buy only necessities, needs rather than wants.
Have I managed what I set out to do? The short answer – YES!
So here it is – my MAIN goal;
2014 tally of items out-the-door – 634 items, 2200 bookmarks and 14485 emails 🙂
Curious about what items I shed? Check it out;
- January tally – 63 items
- February tally – 45 items, 2200 bookmarks and 2450 emails
- March tally – 12 items and 7535 emails
- April tally – 58 items and about 4500 emails
- May tally – 126 items
- June tally – 22 items
- July tally – 22 items
- August tally – 45 items
- September tally – 103 items
- October tally – 7 items
- November tally – 23 items
- December tally – 108 items
My second goal – only buying necessities;
I did better on this during 2014 than I did in 2013 (which was the first time I tried this). I replaced broken items, only if I had too. I used up before replacing or even did not replaced at all.
I did really good at not buying anything but necessities, until my trip to US in September, when I ended up buying some clothing I didn’t really strictly “need”. I do however have an excuse as my luggage was lost for several days, and I got sick of walking around in oversized men’s clothing that I had borrowed. So I caved and bought some ladies things 😉 And it’s not like the clothing won’t come in handy, when I wear out my older stuff…
Other than that, as far as I know, there are only a few other items I got, that were strictly not a necessity. 1 small box set I thought was really cute, that I really haven’t found a use for, yet! And then I got a a few cheap IKEA wine glasses for my birthday grill party, as I did not have enough glasses for the champagne toast! (thinking about it, I believe this could be considered a necessity 😉 )
I did have some allowances for the year! Things I could do and things I could get that aren’t really necessities;
Books – I could buy up to 10 books/magazines – I bought one physical book, and two or three e-books
Eating out – the goal was to cut down to half the amount of times we (a friend and I) eat out compared to 2013 – we didn’t quite manage, as we only cut 39% on times. But what we did manage was to cut the amount we spent, with more than 50%, which was ultimately the goal.
Flowers and plants – The goal for 2014 was to cut down to procuring less than half of what I normally would – Done 🙂 I did even better than half as I cut my procurement of plants for the garden closer to 70% compared to any other years.
So all in all, I would say that I passed my goals for 2014!
Did I pass with flying colours? Hmmm, probably not, I’m sure I could have done better, but I’m pretty happy 🙂
I’m having a hard time…
Being that I have decided to only buy necessities this year, I’m trying to use up stuff I already have in my house.
As an example, let talk about… say…. toiletries!
I have all sorts of creams, hair products, facial stuff, make-up and so on. And it makes perfect sense to use up the items I have before I buy new!
Now, anybody that knows me, knows that, I have the shortest hair ever (by choice). I’d be hard pressed to use up one bottle of shampoo a year. I don’t really use hair products much. And I think I have a bottle of hairspray I’d be lucky to use up within the next 10 years.
If I manage to slap on some moisturiser in the morning, I’ve been good. Never mind facial cleanser, night cream, eye cream and other stuff.
I never really use make-up. If you see me dolled up in make-up even once a year, that’s a stretch 😉
But, and that’s the kicker, being a girl and all 😉 I do like pretty make-up and cool bottles of creams that smell nice, and my hairdresser always manage to convince me I need some products 😉
I have gotten really good the last couple years, only buying the creams/shampoo I actually use. BUT I still have cabinets full of things given to me, and items bought and not used up (or ever used). I’m not kidding you, when I tell you, that I use so little of everything, that it’s going to take years to use it all up.
So what’s the problem you might ask!
Well the challenge is that, while it makes perfect sense to use up the stuff, I really, and I mean really want to declutter my place, I just want the “crap” out of here!
In a way I’m letting my “thriftiness” get in the way of my decluttering . There are times I just want to let a “tornado” (yes, that would be me) loose and get the stuff out of my house.
But then my sensible (or we could argue, not so sensible) mind takes over.
“I should use this up, it makes perfect sense, since I’m not really buying much this year”
“I should give this away or sell this stuff, rather than recycle/toss is”
“I need to put it away, so that my sister, mother, friend, neighbour…(please feel free to add any others..) gets a look at it, before I give to charity/recycle/toss”
All these arguments makes perfect sense – but they are getting in my way of getting the stuff out of here, and achieving the uncluttered space I’m working hard to get to. And it’s starting to frustrate the heck out of me.
Well, why don’t you just “toss” it all?
I don’t know, it’s what I want to do, but is feels sacrilegious to just “toss” things that are worth something to other people, and that might even generate some money for me. But right now holding on to stuff, just so that I can give it away, to family or friends, or make half a dollar on it, are starting to become a hassle, that just seem to stop me cold in my progress.
So what is a girl to do?
When I sat down to write today, I wasn’t really planing on writing this. I suppose this post took a turn of its own;-) It seems my frustration is bigger that I realised. But, while writing this, I’ve come to realise what I need to do, to get a little closer, to achieving my goal of a somewhat more decluttered space.
I will keep stuff that I know I will manage to use up within a year.
Just take the toiletries mentioned above, I will keep hair products that I actually will use, but that darn hairspray is going. I’ll keep items I use, but (even if its a gift) I will get rid of things that I don’t see I will ever really get around to using or even start using within a year.
I will, when I declutter, ask friends and family if they want it (when it makes sense to ask) but, I won’t hold on to it longer than a few days, before they go out-the-door.
I will try to sell stuff that has enough value to make sense to sell (furniture or expensive items), everything else I won’t stress with. I understand that I might be able to make a buck or two, and total by the time this is all said and done I might have lost out on a 100-200 dollars or so, but that’s OK! I’d rather not having all the frustration and stress. And I think my bank account will survive 😉
But I will no longer, let the “rules” above get in my way. I’d rather just; not ask, not sell, not give away, if that makes my declutter process less frustrating and easier.
There is such a thing as, peace of mind, and right now, I think a decluttered space takes precedence over trying to be so darn “sensible”!
What about you?
How do you handle the balance between being sensible and “thrifty” and the need for a less cluttered space? I would love any advice you might have, on finding a good balance.
Ice cream with silver specks? Nope, no more, absolutely not!! I’m done, my dear old ice cream scoop, I’m done picking silver paint out of my ice cream.
You have worked really hard over the years, spooned tons of ice cream, to me and my friends, and I really appreciate it, but it’s time to let you go.
I’m sure you don’t mind, me swapping your worn body out, for a new green shiny ice cream scooper thingy 😉
For some reason, every time a stay at a “fancy” hotel, I always end up with some of their shampoo/shower gel/body cream bottles in my luggage. It’s a curse! But they look pretty and I can’t seem to contain myself 😉 They are just sooooooo cute.
I don’t have a lot of them, but I’ve been saving the pretty ones for my guests. And I always lay out a nice towel and some “hotel” shampoo/shower gel for them to use, when I have people staying over.
So why haven’t they gotten used up long time ago? Well it turns out, my guest tends to bring their own stuff! And not only do they bring their own stuff, they even leave some stuff at my place if it’s almost used up. So what happens? Well, I get an even more excess of shampoos and shower gels.
Enough is enough! I’m sick of all these small bottles/tubes “hanging around” taking up space. So this year, I decided to use them all up myself 😉
NB! A little note for the thrifty out there 😉 Since the hotels tend to toss what’s left of the soaps, shampoos when you leave the hotel, you might as well bring it with you, and use it up at home. It’s what I do!
Happy Valentines everyone. I hope you are having a wonderful day 🙂
Remember I mentioned in “Buying necessities – how am I doing”, that I had bought some extras of items that was on sale. It made me think about, buying in bulk. And when does it make sense.
I think buying in bulk can be a good idea for certain items. It also can save some money during a year, if one goes about it right.
I believe there are a few rules one need to follow for this to make sense.
Free storage space
You need to have room for the item you are stocking up on. And I’m not talking about cramming stuff into the house, but a dedicated space, so that it don’t clutter up you space. We are on a declutter journey remember 🙂 I have a smallish house, so I have a specific place set aside.
Buy what you use
You should only buy items you actually use and need. None of this; well it’s cheap, I might need it sometime or I used to use this and I might start using it again. You should only buy items you use on a regular basis.
Pick your number
Don’t buy more than you can use within a certain time frame – pick your number of items or months for when it’s should be eaten up. As an example, I love Heinz baked beans, and they are really expensive in Norway, but sometimes they will sell for 1/3 of the regular price, and I jump on it. But I’ll never buy more than about 8-10 off them. The reason for this is that I don’t have a lot of space to store them, and I know if I buy to many I might not get them eaten before they expire.
Should save you money
Buying the items should save you some money. Either because they are on sale, or they are cheaper in bigger packs. If it cost the same as any other day, there is no reason to use precious space in your house, when you can buy it any time.
Long shelf time
It should be items that have a long shelf time so they will keep. Always check the dates on the items, don’t assume they have a long shelf life. Some items might not last as long as you think, an example of this is brown rice, certain spices, creams and make-up.
Now that we have got some “rules” out of the way.
What kind of items could this work for?
Dry goods – bags of soups, sauces, flour, sugar, beans, rice…
Canned goods – tomatoes, peas, purée, tuna, corn, ham…
Goods in glass/plastic containers – jams, honey, oils…
Boxed goods – cereals, pastas..
Spices – NB! check dates, some spices have a surprisingly short shelf life
Sodas – check dates though, not all sodas will keep forever
Alcohol – for those of us that enjoys a glass of wine now and then 😉
Toiletries – toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, creams, make-up (NB! some beauty products have shorter shelf life, check!)
Toothbrush – huh? Did you know you should swap every 3 month? Most people wait until it falls apart…
“Tissues” – toilet paper, paper towels, diaper, feminine items, Kleenex…
Vitamins – check dates, not all last as long as you would think
Detergents – for dishwasher/laundry, and other cleaning products
Office/school supplies – paper, pens, tape, glue, wrapping paper…
Fresh goods for freezing – In addition to long shelf life items, I would add fresh goods if you can freeze them. Make sure you don’t get more than you will eat in a short time, to avoid having to toss food, because it got to old.
Personally I stock up a few items in pretty much all the categories mentioned above. And I only stock up when they are on sale, mostly because I don’t have the space to buy the bigger “bulk” versions they have in the stores here (I just don’t have storage space for 98 toilet rolls 😉 and stuff)
I’m sure there are several more items and groups of items that you can think off, this was just a short list from me.
What do you stock up on? Please share you good ideas in comments below.
Earlier this year I wrote this post “I want, I want – I want it now” about moving away from consumerism. In it I told you that this year I would make an effort at only buying necessities. We are now half way into February, and I thought it only fair to let you know how I’m doing 😉
I have done all right, so far. I’ve been decent at using stuff I already have in the house. Better to use up, before buying.
So, what have I spent my money on:
General items – only food and medicines.
Replacement items – one so far, ref. my post One in – two out – and a happier patio
Flowers and plants – a couple cheap orchids, only 8,5 dollars for the two – remember this is part of my allowance 😉
Books – none, absolutely none, then again the year is still young!
Eating out – remember I told you the goal was to cut it down to at least half? Well I’m proud to say that I’m still on track.
A note on the eating out topic. I have a friend that I normally go out and eat Saturday and Sunday dinners with, every weekend. We have changed this up a little, and we now make at least one of the weekend dinner, in house. We switch up who makes what, and so far we are definitely saving a bit of money on this.
We are also using this as an opportunity to empty our freezers, of all sorts of stuff that have been hanging around in it 😉 We are all guilty of putting food into the freezer and forgetting about it, until it’s to old to use any more, and then we have to throw it away. That is such a waste of resources and money. Throwing a little “pot-luck” dinner now and then, to empty the freezer before food gets to old, is a great thing. Why not throw one, were you gather friends and everyone bring a little something to the table, wouldn’t that be fun?
With the exception of a pretty hefty unexpected medical bill in January (that blew my budget out the window). Being aware and in a state of only buying necessities, I have definitely used less money, on stuff, than I normally would have by now.
I’ve even noticed I have spent less money in the grocery store. I haven’t bought more than I absolutely have had to, with a few exception. There have been some items, like toilet paper, certain foods (dry good or freeze stuff), detergent etc, that have been on sales, up to 40%, and these I have bought extras off. These are items I use all the time, and stocking up a little, will save me some money down the line. As long as I have the space, and I don’t go overboard and buy more than I can use within a few months, I think this is a thrifty thing to do.
As I move along this path, I’m writing down everything I spend, in a little notebook. It’s going to be interesting to keep track of what I actually spend my money on. And what I end up with, having spent, at the end of the year.
My patio have been looking a little sad lately, it’s been raining and windy for weeks, and the poor thing have been getting worse by the minute, with all the leaves and green algae from all the rain. In one nut shell, my patio have been one wet, miserable and green thing.
Today I decided to give it a spruce, just a quick clean getting rid of the leaves and algae.. it’s still wet (can’t control the weather) but at least it looks a little happier.
And you are wondering about the one in, two out!
During my clean up, the brush I was using, suddenly broke. I suppose it didn’t like being outside in this cold and miserable weather 🙂 thats 1 OUT
And then my small hand dustpan set, which have been deteriorating during my 2013 summer project, finally gave in. Guess I’ve been a menace on my tools today 😉 that 2 OUT
And the IN? I do need a small dustpan set, so not only is it my 1 IN, it’s also the first replacement item for the year. Guess I didn’t last long! but I found it super cheap at IKEA, all of 1,7 dollars.. not bad for Norway…. And it was so shiny 😉